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Off The Hook: What To Know About Phishing Scams

With how rampant cybercrime can get sometimes, you might have already come across some type of scam in one way or another. Scammers and fraudsters are getting smarter with how they go about stealing people’s information. So it’s always worth being vigilant about where and to who you give your information. The less aware you are of these internet threats, the more vulnerable you can become. One threat you should be mindful of is phishing. Being informed about phishing and how to avoid it is your first line of defense against internet scams. Avoid getting hooked, be smart, and keep safe if you want to keep your cybercrime worries to a minimum!

What Exactly Is Phishing?

A phishing attack is a cyberhacking method that aims to steal an individual’s information. The most common information attackers usually want to get from you are your login credentials and bank account or credit card numbers. You may have already noticed that “phishing” and “fishing” sound the same because they essentially are the same. The internet is vast and is often referred to as a sea of information because of the large amounts of data it stores. Scammers will turn to the internet in an attempt to “fish” for your account details. The “f” is replaced with a “ph” because the earliest types of hacking were originally called phreaking or phone phreaking. Hackers, known as phreaks in the past, stuck to using “ph” instead. When an account gets phished, hackers will use that account’s information for their own gain. If there’s a source of funding linked to that account, for example, a hacker will either commit fraud or steal the funds altogether. In some cases, the hacker will use that account to phish other people and spam other users on the same website or platform as well. 

How Do Phishing Hackers Bait Their Victims? 

There are multiple ways in which a cybercriminal can attempt to phish your information. These scammers will use various forms of “bait” to trick unknowing victims into giving their sensitive information to what they think are secure and trustworthy organizations or websites. The moment you take the bait, your account is already compromised. Virtually anyone can become a victim of phishing. Phishing hackers don’t just target individuals either, they also try to access information from organizations and companies. Phishing is usually done through emails. In some emails, hackers will copy legitimate emails from real companies or websites and attach downloadable files or tweaked links to deceive users into installing malware on their devices. But that isn’t the only way for hackers to tap into confidential information. 

Over the years, there’s been a variety of terms used to refer to specific types of phishing. While normal phishing could be random spam, spear-phishing takes things up a notch and targets specific people or groups, making it more personalized and calculated. Whaling attacks generally prey on individuals in executive positions within a company or organization to extract funds in large amounts. Angler phishing happens when a scammer creates a seemingly legitimate social media account for a real company and poses as a customer service representative. When customers contact the page for a complaint or customer support, the scammer will attempt to ask for the customer’s personal information. Vishing is a form of phishing done through phone calls, while smishing is done through text messages. Pharming also falls under phishing and it redirects a user’s web traffic to a fake or fraudulent website to steal their information. Other types of phishing also exist but these are primarily the ones that are most commonly used by hackers and scammers.

How Do I Know If I’m Being Phished?

Being baited into phishing scams brings about a multitude of problems. Phishing attacks use a lot of deception and trickery to try to pass off as your normal run-of-the-mill emails or text messages. Luckily, there are a few telltale signs that you can look out for to find out if you’re facing a phishing scam. One common feature of a phishing attack is it gives off a sense of urgency. Scammers will try to scare you into rushing into a certain thing such as a limited-time deal or a penalty payment for your account. If you’ve received a suspicious or unexpected email from a sender that you do not know, don’t be too trusting right off the bat even if it seems harmless at first glance. It’s best to not click on any links or attachments it might have as well. Similarly, if an email urges you to download updates or some other matter that is usually dealt with by a company’s team internally, downloading it may not be the best choice. Legitimate companies put a great deal of care into the emails and other notifications they send out to their customers. So if you receive an email containing multiple spelling and grammatical errors, a scammer could be behind it. On that same note, wrongly spelled domain names or even shortened links to websites could indicate that they aren’t legitimate links. You should always think twice before giving out your payment information to any websites or emails that ask for it to avoid regretting it later on.

Here’s How To Not Get Hooked

Prevention is and always will be better than cure. Making sure you steer clear of any possible phishing scams keeps your information safe and reduces any potential risks. Knowing how these types of threats operate can help you spot them easier, thus making it easier to not get phished. If your accounts aren’t protected by two-factor or multi-factor authentication, then you might want to consider doing it the soonest as you can to prevent any unwarranted logins to your account. Make sure you have up-to-date antivirus, antimalware, or antispyware software installed on your computer to combat any viruses or malware that may try to tap into your computer’s data if you’ve accidentally downloaded one from a phishing email or site. If you have doubts about a certain suspicious email that claims to be from a company you know, the safer option is to contact the company directly to inquire about it to find out whether or not you’re being baited by phishing scammers. Never click on any suspicious links that could potentially harm your accounts or devices. Always think before you click – it could save you from a potentially dangerous cyberthreat. When you receive an offer for something that seems a little too good or convenient for you as a customer, it might not be a legitimate offer in the first place. Use spam filters to weed out any unwanted and unwarranted emails that may be sent your way. Staying alert and aware of current phishing trends and events can help you become better prepared in fighting against internet fraud.

Be Vigilant With OTR Mobile

Cybercrime can happen to anyone at any given time, so you need to be extra careful with the information you give out. One of the primary steps to safe internet usage is to connect to a private network. Finding a secure network to connect to may be challenging when constantly moving from place to place. OTR Mobile offers you a safe and stable private mobile hotspot to stay connected 24/7. Here at OTR, we don’t just care about your internet safety. We also care about your internet’s reliability when you need it the most. When you sign up with us today, you can choose from various plans and devices that best suit your needs: no credit checks, no contracts, no hidden charges – just good ol’ high-quality internet service.

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